Your Elevator Pitch - How to Write it and Use it
It’s always the simple requests that are the hardest to answer.
“So, tell me about yourself.”
It should be so easy to answer that common request that we rarely think of a response. Still, many of us fumble around and give an awkward response that leave us wishing we could have a conversational ‘do over’.
Fortunately, there is a simple and versatile way to handle these and many other situations. It’s called The Elevator Pitch. If you do it right, it will make you memorable, easy to meet, and a much more confident business communicator.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An Elevator Pitch is a tidy way to tell someone who you are, what you do, and what makes you special in 20 to 30 seconds. The theory states that, if you got on to an elevator with a stranger and you were heading to the top floor, the Elevator Pitch helps you to introduce yourself before getting to your destination.
It’s simple, as long as you spend some time developing your Elevator Pitch ahead of time.
What’s in an Elevator Pitch?
Elevator Pitches come in many shapes and forms. More advanced pitches end with a memorable phrase or even an open-ended question. In most cases, though, a simple approach will do the trick.
Your basic Elevator Pitch will have these elements, usually in this order:
- Your Name – Easy enough!
- What you do for a living – This doesn’t have to be your work title, and it usually isn’t. In order to make it specific, yet not too confining, I like to use the word ‘professional’; for example, Marketing Professional, Sales Professional, Finance and Analysis Professional, etc.
- How many years of experience you have – Using round numbers will keep it comfortable. Answering “More than 10 years of experience” when you have 12 years of experience works well.
- The industries you work in – This can include medical, manufacturing, heavy equipment, software, or a combination of two or three industries that you have significant experience in.
- What you specialize in – Is there an area of your field that you excel in? Is there some area in which you have advanced knowledge? This is a great way to differentiate yourself from others in your field. If you specialize in thermodynamics, water safety, high-compression engines, Midwest sales, or car batteries, now is the time to give yourself credit for that knowledge.
- What makes you different or unique – This is often a difficult question to answer, usually because the answer is so obvious that it’s hard to see! Things that make you different could be that you show companies how to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, that you work with more than 500 cancer patients a year, or that you are part of the number one team of carpet floorcovering salespeople in the state.
After it’s all done, your Elevator Pitch should look something like this:
My name is Lori Johnson. I am an industrial engineer with more than 15 years of experience in manufacturing foodservice equipment. I specialize in restaurant ovens and our latest project just won the New Design Innovations award.
When it’s done correctly, the pitch will be simple, clean, and to the point.
Now that you have your pitch, take the time to memorize it. Your goal should be to recite it in a natural, conversational pace, without it sounding rehearsed. After all, it’s your story!
Where to use it
This pitch is so encapsulated with information about you that it can be used in many places, including:
- Your professional summary on your resume – Career Objectives are out, Professional summaries are in! Use it on top of your resume.
- At an interview – When the interviewer asks the dreaded question “So, tell me about yourself,” confidently state your Elevator Pitch, without giving too much information. If the interviewer wants more information, he or she will ask for it.
- Networking – Your Elevator Pitch is the perfect avenue to introduce yourself with style.
- Calling a potential employer – Sometimes a call to a potential employer can give the best of us the jitters. Never fear. When you finally get to the person you want to speak to, your Elevator Pitch is the professional way to state who you are and what you do.
Time spent creating and practicing your Elevator Pitch is time well spent. You are sure to use it when meeting new people in most any professional situation, so be sure your Elevator Pitch is crisp and smooth.